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Mark Moxon's Travel Writing

India: Hinduism and Indian History

In appreciating India, it's extremely handy to have a basic grounding in Indian history and the tenets of Hinduism, as there are very few places in the country that haven't been fundamentally shaped by a combination of theological and historic events. So here's a quick summary of Hinduism and Indian history.

The Hindu Pantheon

A colourful gopuram in Madurai
The Hindu pantheon is full of colour, as can be seen in this amazing gopuram in Madurai

Hinduism has a lot of gods – it makes Christianity look positively lightweight. However most of the stories are centred round a handful of big players, and it's worth knowing who they are.

The Siva lingam in Hampi
Hampi's Siva lingam, the holy symbol of Siva

A Potted History of India

While we're on the subject of Indian culture, here's a quick discography of India's various empires and civilisations. Understanding India's past is particularly useful when visiting forts, temples and so on – history gives these buildings a wonderful dimension on top of the already breathtaking architecture.